Mi querida familia,
Its been an insightful week for me. We're seeing some incredible success here in Clinton. We are teaching our recent convert's three grandchildren (Sadie and Xzaylia) and its so much fun to see their enthusiasm for the Gospel. They are choice spirits of our Father in Heaven. While we were teaching about the Book of Mormon Sadie piped up and said how she believed it was true even before she saw the book. She was just so ready to accept the Gospel. My only concern is that her parents have no desire to listen. They won't object to her being baptised, but it's going to be very difficult for Sadie to progress if she doesn't have parental support. We pray that the mom's heart can be softened. Rose (the grandmother and recent convert) is going to be so critical in helping this family progress.
Oh we've had so many fun experiences this week. We found some prepared people for the gospel. We met a man (Terry) who is the roomate of one of our investigators. He hadn't listened to our lessons before but he'd caught little snip-its of our lessons before. As Terry opened up with us we felt impressed to share the 2nd lesson about the Plan of Salvation. As we unfolded the plan...he was mind-blown. We answered so many questions he had such as what is the relationship of the spirit and the body, our purpose in life, the resurrection. We invited him to baptism. At first he was weary because he had been baptized before, but we explained authority and he thought about it for a bit.
And then just as the spirit was really working with him....Bam the door opens and in come a group of people. A crazy lady sat down and wanted to listen to our discussion. We obliged. Then Terry asked us if the baptism he had was valid.
Me: For a baptism to be valid, it must be performed by someone who holds proper priesthood authority--
Crazy lady: Thats a lie. You don't need no (beep) baptism. all you need to do is believe and represent.
Terry: Yes you do, Jesus Christ was baptized by John.
Then this lady really broke the spirit with her arguing and the lesson ended. Man, the Spirit is soooo delicate. The slightest disturbance, especially just a word of arugument, just ruins the environment. We can never argue the truth with anyone. Truth is manifested by the spirit, and the spirit is driven away if we are contending. Even if we are stating truth, if its done out of an argumentative tone, the spirit can't bear witness as strongly to people's hearts.
We must be bold, but not overbearing. This has been my biggest insight of the whole week. Alma 38:12 says we must "bridle our passions." I always thought this only referred to cnotrolling your thoughts in regards to morality, or controlling your anger, but I realize that this phrase can even apply to sharing the Gospel. We must bridle our passion for sharing the Gospel. If we are overbearing with sharing the gospel with people, they will turn away. We were in a lesson with a lady named Mitzy and that's one of the things she commented on. It is possible to be too bold (I had never thought of this). And she mentioned how that's one of the reasons she likes us coming over. We aren't focing here to do anything, we are inviting her to feel the truth for herself. Because we have this frame of mind, she feels the spirit.
And I've realized the same thing. i hate it when people are too pushy with me (ex. my companions trying to get me to hurry up on P-day) but I feel more motivated to act and repent when I'm taught correct principles and then invited to act (such as General Conferance, Zone conferances, reading the scriptures etc.)
So I apologize to my siblings now if I in any way seemed overbearing when I told you to read the Book of Mormon when I called last Sunday.
Ok, other miracles. Elder Masters has a crappy bike, and he got a flat tire two days in a row this week. On the 2nd day he got a flat tire, (we had replaced the tube the day before, fixed everything) he was really frustrated, we would have to be on foot for the whole day throwing off all our plans. But in my head I had an impression: we could not have in anyway controlled the flat tire, this must be part of the plan.
and it was. The flat tire was inspired and we ended up seeing many miracles that day. We found some new potencial investigators. A lady drove up to us and asked us to drop off pamphlets at her house ( if we weren't on foot she wouldn't have stopped us), and many more.
Other fun experiences: I played piano at a baptist church on wednesday. Fun stuff! I accompanied a guitarist while he sang some christian accoustic songs. It worked out pretty well. It didn't feel that reverant or sincere though. It was a fun service and they asked me to come next week. I might do that. Our investigators come first though.
I want to keep going, but this email is already getting really long. I just want everyone to know that this is the the church with the fulness of the Gospel. Even though it's the truth, we can't force it on anyone. And honestly, there are people our there who are not going to recognize that this is the true church, and it's because they aren't prepared to receive the Gospel. Our job as members is to NOT BE PUSHY or OVERBEARING! WE don't have to prove or convice others our Church is true because we already know it's true. We must simply invite people to feel the same joy we have that comes from the REstored Gospel. The commandments bless not restrict. Make sure your testimony is anchored in the Book of Mormon and Jesus Christ, rather than believing because its the popular thing to do. Especially for those living in places where the church is prominant. Don't just go with the flow because everyone else believes in it, because I can tell you that once you leave your places of comfort, the Church is not the most popular thing. If you are swayed by what people think, then your testimony will falter. We must stay praying and reading our scriptures in order to withstand doubt.
I know this church is true. I love you all so much. Missions change lives.
We received this message after Andrew had sent his P-day message:
Message from President Taylor:
Dear Parents: All of our missionaries serving in the Moore, Oklahoma area are safe. The City of Moore, Oklahoma located just south of OKC sustained heavy damage and loss of life today as a very powerful tornado cut its way across the city during about 3:15 pm CT. Our hearts and prayers go out to the people who have lost so much today. Again, all of the missionaries serving in the affected area are safe. The rest of our missionaries checked in safe earlier today. We were blessed again today.
In the coming days our missionaries will be called upon to help with the cleanup from this devastating storm. We are asking the missionaries who do not have leather gloves to buy some in the next couple of days. We are also asking those who can afford to buy work boots to do so. These boots will help prevent foot injuries (from nails) that could be sustained during the cleanup. There will be some ability in the future to reimburse missionaries for the boot purchases. As future storms occur, I will keep you updated (provided we have power). If you do not hear from me by email after the storms clear following a tornado outbreak, call the Missionary Department. I will have notified the Missionary Department by phone and confirmed the safety of our missionaries. Thank you for your prayers and for your wonderful sons and daughters. President Taylor